The Judean Desert Monasteries in the Byzantine Period

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Yale University Press, 1992 - Architecture, Byzantine - 305 pages
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"Monks began to settle in the Judean desert in the fourth century, and from the fifth century onward this part of Palestine was one of the most important centers of monasticism in the Byzantine Empire. This book is the first comprehensive archaeological and social history of the Judean desert monasteries and their monks during this period." "Yizhar Hirschfeld focuses on the material culture and daily life of the monks, explaining how they lived, what they ate, what they wore, and how they spent their days. He also puts their lives into context, discussing the monks' relations with the hermits in the desert, the local people who helped them build the monasteries, the wealthy Christians far away who gave them alms, and the pilgrims who were fed and housed at the monasteries. Hirschfeld draws on accounts of the period written by the monks themselves and on archaeological finds. From 1981 to 1990 he systematically examined the desert's fifty known monasteries along with twelve more that he discovered himself. In three monasteries he conducted intensive excavations, and the book contains many illustrations, including photographs of the monasteries and their desolate surroundings, reconstructions of what the sites looked like in their heyday, and plans of the monks' cells, gardens, and churches."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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